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Suppose I create rocket boots and brand them as "Super Jumpers". After a couple months of selling them, I stealthily create a new brand of rocket boots called "Mega Fliers".

I do not publicly reveal them as created by the same person or corporation, and perhaps I even market them with improvements I intentionally left out of the original boots.

Would this alone be illegal, or only under certain conditions? For example, if I had a monopoly on rocket boots, if I was inflating prices, or if using other consumer manipulation to make them purchase more of both.

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    One could argue that this is done today with auto marques. Kia and Hyundai are the same company. Chevrolet and Cadillac - both GM. – Robert Columbia Feb 7 '18 at 1:32
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    "Store brand" or "private label" products are another example - in many cases, the same identical product, from the same factory, is sold under many different brands. Nothing illegal about this as far as I know. – Nate Eldredge Feb 7 '18 at 4:02
  • Monopoly laws are about share of the market, not about owning two brands. – Pere Feb 7 '18 at 18:37
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    Just a thought, what do you mean by "making the public aware"? Would they have to print "this brand belongs to LittleCorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of BigCorp" onto the packaging? Put it into official letterheads? Acknowledge it to anybody who thinks to ask them? Active deception is one thing, failure to point it out is something different. – o.m. Feb 7 '18 at 18:39
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    @RobertColumbia Not the same thing. Those examples are where the companies in question did make the public aware they are the same company. – Matt Feb 10 '18 at 22:36
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You mean like Unilever, and countless others do?

Yes.

Many, many companies control a stable of brands, often of competing products. This is particularly prevalent in grocery lines (cleaning, food, beauty products) and motor vehicles (there are dozens of brands of motor vehicle but only a handful of automotive companies). Clearly, these products have different features (improvements) – you are entitled to segment your market anyway you like.

If they are actually produced by the same company, keeping that secret would be virtually impossible. If they were separate companies (even with licencing agreements etc.), well, they are not the same company even if they have common ownership.

As for having a monopoly: if you hold a patent you are allowed to have a monopoly, if you don't, expect to see knock-off rocket boots on the shelf in a week.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – feetwet Feb 10 '18 at 15:57
  • It may also occur when the brand name used in the original regional market does not translate well to the new market. For example, the Japanese Franchise Super Sentai (lit. Super Taskforce) is marketed under the brand Power Rangers in the United States. While the two televison shows are quite different, and only share costume footage and props between them, the toy lines are virtually identical with the only difference in actor likeness and which items are focused on (Japan will promote the mechs/zords while the U.S. tends to promote the action figures).+ – hszmv Mar 19 at 11:56
  • Another similar example is the "Transformers" franchise, which started as two different Japanese toylines (Diaclone and Microman, both owned by the same company) that were merged together by Hasbro for the licensed release in the U.S. "Transformers". The media used to sell the toys was created in the United States, and was re-imported in Japan as "Cars-Robot" where for the first few years, all three lines were sold until 1985 when the original two toylines were discontinued and rebranded. – hszmv Mar 19 at 12:05
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Yes it is legal and there are numerous examples across the globe where it happens. However it becomes illegal if you incorporate a misrepresentation into the mix.

There is an example of this in Australia where a corporation has many brands of florists. The misrepresentation arises from the corporation providing on its individual brand websites and Google Ads advertising, an overall impression to consumers that each brand has many local florist shops located in many hundreds of different location around the country, when this is not the case.

The true situation is that the brands are online only, and do not have a bricks and mortar presence.

There is also an overall impression provided that each brand is independent of each other when they are not. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but the overall corporate purpose is to flood Google Ads with as many fake florist shops as possible under different names.

The corporate says it is extremely expensive, but works as it is profitable. Google says nothing.

The consumers orders that arise from this behaviour are in fact serviced by corporate warehouses scattered around the country. Investigation has revealed that they are described as "studios", that are not open to the public.

To further this behaviour the corporate registers hundred of website domains containing the ficticious locations of shops that in reality do not exist, and of course the online consumer orders do not go to a little local florist, but to the corporate's central location in a capital city which are then directed to the so called "studios".

To even further this behaviour, the corporate registers local phone numbers for the fictitious locations, which are all re-directed to a call centre in a capital city, and the orders again are directed to the "studios".

This behaviour is recently exposed at https://fake.florist

My name is Gordon Craven and I am the publisher of this website and I am hopeful of receiving comment regarding my website.

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    When linking to your own site or content (or content that you are affiliated with), you must disclose your affiliation in the answer in order for it not to be considered spam. Having the same text in your username as the URL or mentioning it in your profile is not considered sufficient disclosure under Stack Exchange policy. – Ryan M Mar 19 at 6:20
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    While this explains how it is done, this lacks if or how this is legal as asked in the question. – Trish Mar 19 at 11:52

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